Merle Haggard.

Jay Moore pieinsky at
Thu Sep 12 13:47:17 MDT 2002

An excellent book with background on the "Okie" and Southern Scots-Irish
culture is Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz's "Outlaw Woman" (City Lights Press, 2002).
Dunbar-Ortiz is from that culture herself.  She ran away from an abusive
family situation in Oklahoma and became one of the founders of the Women's
Liberation Movement.  She had many differences with both "radical" and
bourgeois feminists because of her working-class and anti-imperialist
politics.  According to her account, Oklahoma was a stronghold of the old
Socialist Party and IWW.  Some of her forefathers were involved with that
kind of politics in the early 20th century.  But as she describes, along the
lines of the Monthly Review article which Roger Baker recommends, that
culture turned to the right.

Scots-Irish is partly my own ethnic background.  I was glad to read that
there was something postive about it.

"Outlaw Woman" is a good companion to Max Elbaum's "Revolution in the Air",
which I just finished reading.  As a former participant in the "New
Communist Movement", I found Elbaum's account very informative and useful.
But it's pretty dry reading.  Dunbar-Ortiz's book -- she and Elbaum are
apparently in the same leftist milieu today out in the Bay Area around the
"War Times" publication -- brings that post-Sixties time and its politics to
life.  She has an autobiographical book, "Red Dirt", which I haven't read,
about growing up Okie.


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